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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3881 ..


It appears from the facts and the comments provided to me that the inability of our health system to cope with an out-of-the-normal-box approach may have forced this service provider out of the ACT, and it left patients without their personalised and nuanced care. These patients felt this loss, this removal of a service, very keenly. What we need is patient-centred care. ACT Health’s vision is “Your health, our priority”, and one of ACT Health’s values is to go the extra distance in delivering services.

I call on the ministers involved to ensure that this is the case here. It is well known that the ACT has gaps in specialist medical services. We know it is difficult to attract and retain medical specialists in the ACT. But, as demonstrated by the comments and the letters provided to me, which formed the bulk of the motion, there may be some issues within the public health system in dealing with programs that do not fit into the standard box.

We cannot be more concerned about administration and outputs than patient outcomes. Our residents deserve better. Our deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind residents deserve better. We have to provide them with mental health support. It is not a nine to five, Monday to Friday issue. For example, we have had reference to a number of different programs which are all so useful in their own way.

NABS, the national Auslan interpreter booking system, applies to private insurance. It does not apply, for example, to someone going to the emergency department in a mental health crisis, in which case it is the hospital’s responsibility to provide that interpreter. It is not the individual’s responsibility, through the NDIS, to provide an interpreter when they present at the emergency department in crisis. It is the hospital’s responsibility. Patients who are in crisis and in need have been turned away because we have been unable to make their mental health a priority.

I move the amendment circulated in my name to Mr Rattenbury’s proposed amendment:

In paragraph (2), after “Office for Disability”, insert “deaf and deafblind consumers and their representative organisations,”.

We are happy to accept Mr Rattenbury’s amendment today. However, I have moved a small amendment to paragraph (2) so that after the words “Office for Disability” we insert the words “deaf and deafblind consumers and their representative organisations”. This is important because it is individuals and their health needs—in this case mental health—that we are talking about. There is a very well-known saying in the disability community—and I am sure everyone here has heard it—“nothing about us without us”. This applies in this instance of mental health as well for people who are deaf and deafblind. They deserve to be consulted and included in any discussions and consultations and planning for the services that will be provided for them in the future. They have a very real interest in what will be provided for them in the future and they must be included.


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